Remains ID announced 07/2005
Buried in Arlington National Cemetery 09/13/2005

Name: Gregg Hartness
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 18 April 1937  Detroit MI
Home City of Record: Dallas TX
Date of Loss: 26 November 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 160129N 1064201E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A
Other Personnel In Incident: (co-pilot rescued)
Refno: 1330

Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 2020.


SYNOPSIS:  Maj. Gregg Hartness and his co-pilot departed Da Nang airbase,
South Vietnam in their O2A aircraft for a night visual reconnaissance
mission over southern Laos at 0300 hours on November 26, 1968.

At 0413, as they flew over the rugged, jungle-covered mountainous area, the
aircraft suddenly received a hit from an unknown source in the aft section.
Hartness issued the order to bail out as the aircraft began to spin
uncontrollably.  The co-pilot successfully bailed out at 6000 feet and was
rescued a few hours later.  Although he saw no parachute, the co-pilot
believes that Hartness could have ejected without his seeing him in the

At 0700 hours, an emergency signal was picked up from a point 28 miles
northeast of Saravane, Laos.  Search and rescue located the downed co-pilot
and rescued him.  Recovery was difficult because of the heavy jungle growth
on the steep hill he was on.  No attempt was made to approach the aircraft
because it was still smoldering and had unexploded ordnance aboard, and
there were hostile forces in the area.  No further emergency transmissions
were detected, and the search was terminated.

Hartness is among nearly 600 Americans who were lost in Laos.  Many survived
to reach the ground and radio that they were being surrounded.  A few were
photographed in captivity.  Countless others have been described in rallier
and refugee reports.

The Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of
American prisoners, yet not a single man held in Laos was ever released - or
negotiated for.  If Hartness is alive, what must he think of the country he
proudly served, and the careless manner in which he has been abandoned?



NEWSLETTER    July 20, 2005

ACCOUNTING RESULTS: There are now 1,827 Americans listed by the Defense
Department as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War - 1,393 in
Vietnam, 372 in Laos, 55 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. Over
90% of all 1,827 Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the
Vietnam War were lost in Vietnam or in areas controlled by them.  The
following US personnel have been acknowledged as accounted for since the
March, 2005 League Newsletter, and the League extends best wishes to each
family in sincere hope that the end of uncertainty brings long-sought peace
of mind.

Lieutenant Colonel Lee A. Adams, USAF, MIA 4/19/66, NVN, RR 10/6/93
Colonel Arthur D. Baker, USAF, MIA 4/7/65, LA, RR 2/24/03
Sergeant 1st Class Michael L. Batt, USA, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88
Sergeant 1st Class Raymond E. Bobe, USA, MIA/BNR 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88
Lieutenant Colonel Marvin L. Foster, USAR, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88
Colonel Gregg Hartness, USAF, MIA 11/26/68, LA, RR 2/16/05
Lieutenant Colonel Darel D. Leetun, USAF, MIA 9/17/66, NVN, RR 4/12/95
Colonel James W. Lewis, USAF, MIA 4/7/65, LA, RR 2/24/03
Lieutenant Colonel David R. Smith, USAR, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88

No. 859-05
Aug 19, 2005

Air Force Officer MIA From Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced
today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the
Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for
burial with full military honors.

He is Air Force Col. Gregg Hartness of Dallas, Texas.  He is to be buried in
Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14.

On Nov. 26, 1968, Hartness and lst Lt. Allen S. Shepherd, III, took off from
Da Nang air base in South Vietnam, on a forward air control mission.  While
flying over Salavan Province in Laos, their O-2A 'Skymaster' was apparently
struck by enemy fire and began to spin out of control.  Shepherd bailed out
and was rescued by an Air Force search and rescue team about nine hours
later.  He did not see Hartness bail out.

About 30 minutes after that rescue, the airborne team located the crash site
of Hartness and Shepherd's aircraft about 200 meters (660 feet) south of the
rescue pickup point.  The aircraft had been burning, but no contact with
Hartness could be established.  Enemy forces in the area precluded further
rescue attempts, and electronic searches of the loss location detected no
signals from the lost aircraft or pilot.

Between 1993 and 2003, joint U.S.-Lao investigators interviewed more than 60
witnesses in 39 different settlements in Laos before selecting a site for
excavation.  In January and February of 2005, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting
Command, with assistance from the Lao government, excavated a site in
Salavan Province. They recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, life
support equipment and personal effects.

Of the 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, 1,815 are from the
Vietnam War, with 372 of those within the country of Laos. Another 756
Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the
Vietnam War.  Of those, 197 are from losses in Laos.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account
for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or
call (703) 699-1169.





Return to Service Member Profiles

On April 11, 2005, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC, now DPAA) identified the remains of Colonel Gregg Hartness, missing from the Vietnam War.

Colonel Hartness entered the U.S. Air Force from Texas and served with the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron. On November 26, 1968, he copiloted an O-2A Skymaster (tail number 67-214119, call sign "Covey 265") that took off from Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, on a nighttime visual reconnaissance mission over Laos. While northeast of Saravane in Savannakhet Province, the aircraft was shot down by enemy ground fire and crashed, killing Col Hartness. The rough terrain and a heavy enemy presence prevented the recovery of Col Hartness' remains at the time. Between 1993 and 2003, joint U.S./Laotian search teams traveled to Saravane where they excavated a site associated with this loss and recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, and personal effects. In 2005, U.S. investigators were able to identify Col Hartness from these remains.

Colonel Hartness is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.